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(Holiday!) Video(s) of the Moment #2255: Violet Skies and Fiona Apple

 
By on Friday, 23rd December 2016 at 10:00 am
 

’Tis the season for snippets of music and DIY videos! This December has seen intimately conspiratorial, up-close-and-personal videos from a pair of feisty female artists, Welsh singer/songwriter Violet Skies and American alt-rock icon Fiona Apple. Though both new songs are ostensibly Christmas-themed, neither of them could be classified as jovial or jolly.

Violet Skies internal

Violet Skies, who we met at SXSW 2016, has composed an original holiday tune, aptly titled ‘Little Sad Christmas Song’. Arranged simply for keyboard and her own soulful singing voice, Violet Skies’ track is forlorn rather than festive as she sings “We both know you’re not coming home for Christmas / and we both know I couldn’t make you stay.” Her wistfully wintery vocal tone might not be chock full of Christmas cheer, but it’s nonetheless appropriate for the season.

Fiona Apple (pictured at top) takes a far more bitter tone in her remarkably witty parody of a Christmas classic. Her pointedly political remake of ‘The Christmas Song’ is unambiguously subtitled ‘Trump’s Nuts Roasting on an Open Fire’, in a less-than-celebratory reference to the recent American presidential election. Though it appears that Apple’s parody was originally intended just for a devoted fan club Web site, Apple also performed it live last Sunday night at a Los Angeles area benefit for the Standing Rock Sioux. Barbed lyrics like “everybody knows some money and entitlement / can help to make the season white” are a stark reminder of where American society stands as the 2016 holidays approach.

[youtube]https://youtu.be/weipMms_rMg[/youtube]

TGTF’s previous coverage of Violet Skies can be found right here.  Our archive of Fiona Apple coverage is back this way.

 

(Holiday!) Video(s) of the Moment #2254: Michael Angelakos

 
By on Thursday, 22nd December 2016 at 6:00 pm
 

Header photo by Steven Brahms

Last Friday, Passion Pit frontman Michael Angelakos released a new holiday-themed “video album” titled ‘Merry Christmas, Mr. Fields’, in which each musical track on the album is apparently accompanied by a corresponding vignette or segment of a short film. Angelakos has released two video singles from the album so far, ‘Stained Glass Windows’ and ‘Christmas in Your Arms’.

Nothing is more poignantly sad than solemn-faced children, and Angelakos matches that stark visual effect with the muted twinkle of a piano melody in ‘Stained Glass Windows’. His vocals are deliberately childlike and artless, or at least as much so as a grown man’s voice can be, falling gracefully somewhere between Linus Van Pelt and Sondheim’s Desirée singing ‘Send in the Clowns’. It’s an unexpected intersection, to say the least, but emotionally, it finds its target.

[youtube]https://youtu.be/9VLzKlYCCKk[/youtube]

‘Christmas In Your Arms’ is a tiny bit lighter in tone, adopting a hazy, electro-jazz cabaret style that somehow fits Angelakos’ mildly strident vocal delivery. Its video adaptation features a familiar cast of youthful characters, who once again appear strangely jaded and made up to look older their years.

[youtube]https://youtu.be/sfvQ-RDDIc8[/youtube]

Michael Angelakos’ video album ‘Merry Christmas, Mr. Fields’ is available now via Frenchkiss Records. TGTF’s previous coverage of Angelakos in the context of Passion Pit is right back this way.

 

(Holiday/Charity!) Video of the Moment #2253: Natalie Prass

 
By on Thursday, 22nd December 2016 at 10:00 am
 

Alt-country singer/songwriter Natalie Prass has gone suddenly synthpop in her new Christmas single ‘Everybody’s Having Fun (It’s Christmas Time)’, and the irony isn’t entirely unintentional. In a statement accompanying the upbeat new track and its trippy promo video, Prass acknowledges that “[t]his holiday season is, for many of us, a confusing and frustrating one,” given the political and social upheaval happening not only in America but around the world.

But she continues in a more optimistic vein: “I’m hoping this video makes you want to dance and feel free to be who you are – no matter how alone you feel or how different you are than your family or community. There’s a place in this country for everyone. Let’s keep physically moving forward together with our stylish glasses on or off. Happiest Holidays and peace to you and yours.”

If you’re keen on Prass’ upbeat Christmas vibe, you can buy the new track on her Bandcamp page. All proceeds from the single will be donated to SPARC (School of the Performing Arts in the Richmond Community) in Prass’ hometown of Richmond, Virginia. You can read more about Natalie Prass on TGTF right back here.

[youtube]https://youtu.be/9aHmSV05WOA[/youtube]

 

(Holiday!) Video of the Moment #2251: Boy Jumps Ship

 
By on Wednesday, 21st December 2016 at 10:00 am
 

Newcastle quartet and TGTF favourites Boy Jumps Ship have donned their holiday jumpers for a zany new Christmas video. Their cover of ‘All Alone on Christmas’, originally sung by Darlene Love for the film soundtrack ‘Home Alone 2: Lost in New York’, is fairly true to the familiar version written by Steve Van Zandt and backed by the famous E Street Band, but predictably, it leans more toward laid-back guitar rock than rapturous gospel vocals. It’s hard to say whether the Boy Jumps Ship lads might have had more fun recording the track or re-enacting the scenes from ‘Home Alone 2’ in their promo video. Either way, this will be sure to put you in the mood for hot cocoa and classic Christmas movies.

You can read more about Boy Jumps Ship on TGTF right through here.

[youtube]https://youtu.be/_RufAXLXWc8[/youtube]

 

(Holiday and SXSW 2017 flavoured!) Video of the Moment #2247: New Portals

 
By on Friday, 16th December 2016 at 10:00 am
 

Belfast husband-and-wife alt-pop duo New Portals (aka Mike and Ruth Aicken) announced last week on their Facebook page that they’ve been tapped as showcasing artists for SXSW 2017. Almost immediately, the pair followed their “Facebook official” announcement with a new and seasonally-appropriate single titled ‘Winter Skin’.

Though the drum machines, hard-edged synths and double-tracked vocals of track itself are unequivocally modern, the promo video for ‘Winter Skin’ is facetiously packaged on YouTube as a documentary video from 1979. In reality, the vintage footage of skiers fighting through harsh weather conditions was prepared by the Aickens’ young daughter Freiah-Beth, and was then overlaid with the song’s lyrics displayed in a contemporary stylised typeface.

[youtube]https://youtu.be/S-Lfrw7w0D4[/youtube]

Just after the video was dropped online, New Portals announced a remix of ‘Winter Skin’ by Northern Irish producer Aidan Sheppard, known professionally as FVRY. FVRY’s treatment is crisper and cleaner than the original, with a radiant sparkle in the keyboards. Its added instrumental emphasis on the song’s chorus, “and does this feel alright with you / it hurts a little each time you say it”, provides a much-needed musical hook to the more subdued (dare I say chill?) original arrangement.

Stay tuned to TGTF for more on New Portals as we begin our preview coverage of SXSW 2017. As always, any information we bring you about SXSW 2017 is to the best of our knowledge when it posts, and the artist lineup is subject to change. For news and updates on SXSW 2017, please consult the festival’s official schedule here.

 

(Holiday!) Video of the Moment #2245: Glass Animals

 
By on Thursday, 15th December 2016 at 10:00 am
 

Last week, dance pop quartet Glass Animals, or half of them anyway, made an in-studio appearance on BBC Radio 1’s Piano Sessions with Huw Stephens. The programme is billed as a series of “stripped back piano performances from cutting-edge artists”, and on this occasion, Glass Animals presented a stripped back lineup consisting of frontman Dave Bayley at the microphone and bandmate Drew MacFarlane on keys.

Along with a surprisingly elegant piano version of their recent hit track ‘Life Itself’, the pair performed a more traditional but equally smooth rendition of the holiday standard ‘Winter Wonderland’. MacFarlane is impressively fluid and sensitive on the ivories, but the real triumph is in Bayley’s velvety vocal delivery, which has always been a hallmark of Glass Animals’ sensual dance sound. Somehow, it works equally well in the context of a classic Christmas tune.

As a holiday bonus, we’ve included live videos of both performances just below. If this pared down arrangement isn’t enough of Glass Animals for you, you can find our previous coverage of the full band collected through here.

[youtube]https://youtu.be/j5rrUEA9qoE[/youtube]

[youtube]https://youtu.be/WDzadUr1orQ[/youtube]

 
 
 

About Us

There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF is edited by Mary Chang, who is based in Washington, DC. She is joined by writers in England, America and Ireland. It began as a UK music blog by Phil Singer in 2005.

All MP3s are posted with the permission of the artists or their representatives and are for sampling only. Like the music? Buy it.

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